Sackville continues to keep its finances in good shape, with the town posting yet another surplus for 2018.
The town’s annual audit, which was presented and approved during May’s council meetings, showed that once again the municipality ended another year with money in the bank, a feat that has been achieved for more than 20 years running.
Treasurer Michael Beal said the town was able to end the fiscal year with a healthy surplus of $62,888, thanks to higher-than-anticipated revenue and reduced expenses.
“Overall it was a good year with extra revenue and department heads managing their expenses and coming in under budget,” said Beal. “With the positive year we had in 2018, this will help the town be in a better financial position in 2019 and beyond.”
The increased revenue came in the form of a number of areas, Beal explained, including higher-than-expected building permits, sale of assets, reimbursements for past floods and the FCM grant for the town’s asset management plan. And expenses were reduced as a result of lower staff, policing and legal costs than expected. Beal said this allowed the town to charge more capital back to capital out of revenue and borrow less.
“We only needed to borrow $260,000 in general capital for the fire truck rather than the anticipated amount of $473,000,” he said.
Beal said the town was also able to put away $190,000 into the general capital reserve fund, which leaves enough money in that fund to cover the municipality’s share of the Lorne Street retention pond project.
Sackville’s Chief Administrative Officer Phil Handrahan applauded the department heads for “living within the budget in front of them” throughout 2018.
He also noted staff were successful in acquiring a number of provincial and federal grants last year, which has an impact on the town’s overall debt.
“The reduction in our debt is going down at a faster pace than what was anticipated when we set the budget for 2018,” said Handrahan.
Auditor Andrew Boudreau of Stevenson & Partners, the accounting firm that conducts the audit, also praised the town for its sound financial management throughout 2018. The town also posted a surplus in its utility fund of $9,290 for 2018.
“With small surpluses in both funds, everything seems to be operating well,” he said. “Overall the budgets compared to actuals, they worked out quite closely. Most things were fairly in line with budget, if anything being a little bit better than what the budget was expected to be.”
Boudreau highlighted a noteworthy reduction in the town’s net debt, pointing to a $1-million drop from $13,896,000 in 2017 to $12,848,000 in 2018.
“It’s always a positive to see net debt going down,” he said.
Copies of the audit are available at town hall.